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As the Portfolio Diversifying Investments (“PDI”) industry continues to advance comprehensive automation solutions, the antiquated process of requiring hand-written, original document transmission with medallion signature guarantees (“MSG”) in PDI transactions has been a major inhibitor to new operational efficiencies.

The Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (the “IPA”) believes that an industry-wide transition to a digital environment in which transaction documents are exchanged electronically and the MSG requirements are eliminated is necessary to improve workflows, reduce liability, and increase overall cost savings for all parties. This streamlined process would also promote business generation, removing friction associated with the traditional paper process.

Because there is no current widely used and adopted electronic alternative to the MSG stamp, the MSG process requires physical paperwork, which must be overnighted for processing, thereby slowing down the speed of consummating transactions. This process causes more room for error and increases overall firm and portfolio costs.

The IPA’s Technology, Innovation and Operations Committee Chaired by Chris Blanchard, Senior Director, Alternative Investments, Fidelity Investments and Chair-elect, Mark Lancaster, President & CEO, Great Lakes Funding Solutions established an MSG subcommittee.

The subcommittee was charged with developing an industry wide solution to address digital inefficiencies and industry standardization. The resulting whitepaper: outlines the proposed solution designed to move our industry one step closer to broader automation.



A special thanks to Chris Blanchard, Senior Director, Alternative Investments, Fidelity Investments, Mary Katherine Rawls, Associate with Morrison & Foerster and Amber Ingram, VP Shareholder Operations, Black Creek Group for leading this critical initiative. Additionally, gratitude goes out to all the subcommittee members noted below.

Nina Anderson, Client & Partner Group, KKR

Lauren Cross, Vice President, Shareholder Relations, CIM Group

Zane Doyle, Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Phoenix American Financial Services, Inc.

John Gray, Senior Vice President, Envision Financial System, Inc.

Greg Mausz, COO, Preferred Capital Securities

Chris Shaw, Vice President-Head of Retail Alternative Transfer Agency, SS&C Technologies

Now is the time to advance the PDI industry by enhancing the firm and client experience by standardizing operational workflow, decreasing risk using secure transmission channels, and increasing cost savings associated with full, end-to-end electronic transactions.

On behalf of the IPA community, I would like to extend our gratitude to members of this subcommittee and those who lent their thought leadership to this critical industry solution.


Tony Chereso
President & CEO
Institute for Portfolio Alternatives